NYC – 2020 – Chinese New Year – Firecrackers – Parade

Chinatown is one of the most famous neighborhoods in downtown Manhattan and hands down holds two of the best events of the the Chinese New Year celebration.


For two weeks, starting on January 25, you can head to Manhattan’s Chinatown for the Firecracker Ceremony and later, on February 9th, the Chinese New Year Parade.

 

chinatown_fire-cracker_2017-47
Thousands of these are sold, almost everyone of them is used on the streets.
During the Firecracker Celebration the streets get covered in confetti, people dress in red and gold with beautifully painted faces or masks, and the sounds of drums and bells and huge dragons are everywhere. This is what Chinese New Year looks like in New York. The celebration of this holiday is both visually and atmospherically impressive. The street parties with vendors selling great Chinese food, different performances, music, firecrackers, and entertainment for all ages last for almost two weeks.
 

 the sparkly explosives are set off to ward off bad spirits for 2020.

Here are some highlights.

The Chinese New Year Parade and Festival takes place on a different day than the Firecracker Festival. This year it will be celebrated on Sunday, February 9th. The spectacle includes musicians, lion and dragon dances, stunning outfits, acrobats and martial art performers. More than 5,000 people participate in the parade. Celebrate the Year of the Rat. [The Chinese zodiac begins a new 12-year cycle in early 2020 with the Year of the Rat. According to lore, the rat (as a zodiac animal personality, that is) is associated with wealth, cleverness and likability. Those all sound pretty good.]

The New Year Parade

 

Helpful hints
For prime photo and viewing opportunities, get as close to the barricades as you can. Once the crowd forms the lines will be several people deep and movement will be restricted along the path. So find a good spot and stick to it! Remember that spectators count in the thousands, with travelers even coming from outside the city to enjoy the festivities.

You will be outside for the duration of the parade, which lasts for several hours and occurs rain or shine. Even in milder temperatures, being exposed to wind and rain over a prolonged period can be harsh. Avoid bulky bags, which might be searched. And keep your hands free so you can take great pics and set off those fun confetti cannons!
Note; Public bathrooms are rare in this area. I would suggest that you do not load up on liquids before the parade. Columbus Park (mulberry Street) is open but not always the cleanest. If you go into an eating place ask if they have bathrooms for customers before ordering.
Click on pictures to enlarge

In Chinatown is that many things are looking at you.

What to eat

Traditional holiday foods include dumplings, long noodles, peanuts and dim sum to name a few. You’ll find plenty of places along the main Chinatown strips serving up menus filled with New Year’s delicacies. 

Also, You can find fresh fish to take home at a very reasonable price.

 

Many interesting moments when you are just wandering.

Young women mix of the traditional and the modern.

Color is everywhere

 

A few of the “other” photos.

Previous Posts about Chinatown

Chinatown’s Charm

Joss Paper – Funerals

people

Hand Fans

This is a brief video to let you listen to the noise.Video

SoHo – Cast Iron Buildings – Vault Lights – More

 IMG_2278

Many of you come to New York City and spend some time in China Town and  Little Italy. Just a hop skip and a jump from there is SoHo –  the home for high-fashion, cast iron buildings and cobblestones.   Just roaming the streets and popping into the many boutiques can be a fun experience. I will note that the prices may also be a subject of dinner-time talk as well.

Since it impossible for me to accurately describe what a shopping experience would be like, I will try to give you a picture of this neighborhood and its uniqueness to NYC.

IMG_2261

SoHo is filled with intricate, yet simple, cast-iron architecture.. Walking along streets like Mercer, Greene, Crosby or Wooster you will notice cobblestone streets
lined with cast iron buildings. (A few of you may recognize this area as the backgrounds in many commercials,most notably auto ads.)

SoHo began as an area for manufacturing or department stores, it was built before electricity was invented so they built buildings IMG_2230with giant-scale windows, allowing daylight to enter the basement and the far reaches of the storefronts.

Also, cast iron is a stronger product than other irons (such as wrought iron), so it allowed  buildings to span greater distances. The material could be prefabricated offsite and quickly put up on site. It also allowed the delicate designs of the time to be mass-produced. In order to go higher the buildings store fronts were supportedby columns rather than brick.

IMG_2278

Along with the many stores there are living spaces above with giant windows, tall ceilings, and expansive living spaces. A great place to live.

Cast iron columns are hollow, enabling architects2012_march_11_Marshall_Vill_008_Ato build higher without the thick walls previously required to construct brick buildings.

IMG_2277Foundry stamps were often placed at the base of cast-iron buildings.

Many stores have loading docks close to the buildings. They were designed at that height to lift people up and out of the walkway, as well as to come closer to the structures so they could window shop.

A magnet will stick to cast-iron, but not other building materials. Bring one with you as you wander the SoHo streets. 

Small circular glass bulbs dot the sidewalks of Soho–are they chic street stylings or art?

Many of the sidewalks in New York are hollow but especially in this area. In many of the older buildings the basements extend beyond the building’s footprint- opening up to a “vault” space under the sidewalk. The glass bulbs are actually tiny windows–called “vault lights” or deadlights–to allow sunlight into the basement factories before the introduction of electricity.They permitted daylight to reach otherwise dark basements (or “vaults”) that extended out beneath the sidewalks this created more useable or rentable space for building owners.

Notes

You might also notice that the street signs in SoHo are brown, not green like standard street signs. This is because a large section of SoHo is a historic district.

SoHo’s cobbled streets and atmosphere make the district unlike any other area in Manhattan. The uniqueness boils down to the most simple details such as the street names. In SoHo the streets have names rather than numbers. Spring Street, Prince Street, and Broadway are all well-known streets.

Broadway is probably one of the most well-known streets in NYC, and also runs right through the center of SoHo. Many big name shops have their flagship stores here, right in the heart of SoHo. Broadway is not only the longest street, it is also the heart of shopping in NYC – Definitely worth a visit!

Here is a collection of some unique items you can see in SoHo

NYC – The Library Lions of the NYC Public Library – Are there others less famous?

 

Most of us are familiar with Patience and Fortitude, the world-renowned pair of marble lions that stand proudly before the majestic Beaux-Arts library building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan. They have captured the imagination and affection of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world.

NYC Public Library – 42nd Street

History: Their names of the lions have changed over the years. After the dedication, the pair were named Leo Aster and Leo Lenox, after the library’s founders, Jacob Aster and James Lenox. Later, folks decided to dress them up in costume and name them Lady Astor and Lord Lenox. N

Who knew that we have two sets of lions guarding public libraries in NYC?

Did you?

Actually, there are two more lions, a pair, of sleeping, cousins, in the Bronx,at the  NYC Riverdale Library. The lions, each weighing about 900 pounds are sprawled lazily on stone pedestals with  their eyelids closed  at the libraries entrance.

New York Public Library – Riverdale

Though smaller than the NYCPL lions, they began their public life at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue. At their present location in Riverdale, they have been named “River” and “Dale.”

 

Are these the only pair(s) of lions in the city?

Are you are familiar with two lions named Stephen and Stitt,?

These two lions  keep watch over the HSBC bank at Canal Street and Bowery.

HSBC Bank – Canal Street and Bowery

History: Lions have appeared on the English coat-of-arms ever since the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066, and the Peking Lion holds a great significance in Chinese tradition. It isn’t surprising therefore, that two lion sculptures can be found guarding many of the HSBC offices around the world today. Note: The HSBC name is derived from the initials of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

You are invited to add to this story.

 

 

NYC – Brooklyn to Manhattan – walking the Manhattan Bridge

Getting There

On my to-do list was to walk over the Manhattan Bridge. I gathered up my google skills and decided hat it would be best to cross from the Brooklyn side. How close will the subway get me to my destination – Jay and Sands Street? Will there be subways closures? The nearest stop is York Street –  just a block or so north of the pedestrian entrance at Jay and Sands.  Staring from the Upper East Side I rode the “Q” and “F” trains. The trip was uneventful and before going I checked with the MTA Trip Planner.

http://tripplanner.mta.info/MyTrip/ui_web/customplanner/TripPlanner.aspx

The Manhattan Bridge may be way down on your list of things to do in NYC but walking across this century-old bridge affords some spectacular views of the Brooklyn Bridge and buildings of Manhattan.

http://www.jasonanderin.com/2012/07/walking-the-manhattan-bridge

Pedestrian pathway

Sign are posted for walkers and bicycles, just make sure you walk on South side of bridge

The pedestrian pathway is at the same level as traffic and trains, so the walk is noisy, and plenty of bikes don’t heed the direction to ride on the north path, so you’ll have a few bikes speed past you, but you’ll be too focused on the amazing view to the south to care.

The total length of the bridge is just a little more than 1 mile, so it doesn’t take long to walk across, even if you’re stopping often for photos. The protective fence dogs your steps the whole way, but in a few spots people have cut it and pulled it apart so you can take a photo of the view more easily. Suggestion: Your phone will work very well shooting through the “chicken wire”. If you remove your lens flare-cover on your DSL you might be able to get some good shots through the railing. In all cases just hold on to your camera!

 

Ending your walk

 

You will come out in Manhattan right in Chinatown. the neighborhood, you’ll start to see the iniquness of Chinatown from this vantage point.

You will end opposite Canal Street and should be able to find some eatable treats as well as some shopping. Also, there is an uptown subway on canal  street.

 

And of course – Graffitii

SoHo – Cast Iron Buildings – Vault Lights – More

 IMG_2278

Many of you come to New York City and spend some time in China Town and  Little Italy. Just a hop skip and a jump from there is SoHo –  the home for high-fashion, cast iron buildings and cobblestones.   Just roaming the streets and popping into the many boutiques can be a fun experience. I will note that the prices may also be a subject of dinner-time talk as well.

Since it impossible for me to accurately describe what a shopping experience would be like, I will try to give you a picture of this neighborhood and its uniqueness to NYC.

IMG_2261

SoHo is filled with intricate, yet simple, cast-iron architecture.. Walking along streets like Mercer, Greene, or Wooster you will notice cobblestone streets
lined with cast iron buildings. (A few of you may recognize this area as the backgrounds in many commercials,most notably auto ads.)

SoHo began as an area for manufacturing or department stores, it was built before electricity was invented so they built buildings IMG_2230with giant-scale windows, allowing daylight to enter the basement and the far reaches of the storefronts.

Also, cast iron is a stronger product than other irons (such as wrought iron), so it allowed  buildings to span greater distances. The material could be prefabricated offsite and quickly put up on site. It also allowed the delicate designs of the time to be mass-produced. In order to go higher the buildings store fronts were supportedby columns rather than brick.

IMG_2278

Along with the many stores there are living spaces above with giant windows, tall ceilings, and expansive living spaces. A great place to live.

Cast iron columns are hollow, enabling architects2012_march_11_Marshall_Vill_008_Ato build higher without the thick walls previously required to construct brick buildings.

IMG_2277Foundry stamps were often placed at the base of cast-iron buildings.

Many stores have loading docks close to the buildings. They were designed at that height to lift people up and out of the walkway, as well as to come closer to the structures so they could window shop.

A magnet will stick to cast-iron, but not other building materials. Bring one with you as you wander the SoHo streets. 

Small circular glass bulbs dot the sidewalks of Soho–are they chic street stylings or art?

Many of the sidewalks in New York are hollow but especially in this area. In many of the older buildings the basements extend beyond the building’s footprint- opening up to a “vault” space under the sidewalk. The glass bulbs are actually tiny windows–called “vault lights” or deadlights–to allow sunlight into the basement factories before the introduction of electricity.They permitted daylight to reach otherwise dark basements (or “vaults”) that extended out beneath the sidewalks this created more useable or rentable space for building owners.

 

Here is a collection of some items you can see in SoHo

NYC – Little Italy – Murals

It is always fun to visit Little Italy and China Town. I find that every new trip brings with it  unexpected things to see and do. Also, I often find  places I  have missed during my  last trip.

My Blog tries to provide you encourage you to get out and walk…
while the  images of NYC  hopefully helps you to find what is in your  neighborhood.
Have you looked lately?

 

Little Italy Murals

Little Italy and the surrounding area is coming alive with views of art that ranges in scale, style, and intention. While often somewhat hidden there is a good  mix of commissioned and illegal works that can be found. Recently, several new murals have been painted on Mulberry Street.  I encourage you to take  a stroll down Mulberry Street, a weekend Pedestrian Mall, it is a wonderful experience as it is the heart of Little Italy.

 

full tiger

 

 

 

mrals little italy (22)

 

 

The following two are hard to miss. I leave any feelings about these to myself but my grandson thinks they look like “ugly” babies.

 

 

These three were scattered around the area

mrals little italy (7)

 

mrals little italy (8)

 

mrals little italy (3)

Some others that you may have missed

NYC – A block on Elizabeth Street (Little Italy)

This blog contains three parts – The Park, The Shops & Galleries and Trivia 

The Park

There is a small park – Elizabeth Street Gardens – on Elizabeth Street , between Prince & Spring streets (Little Italy) that is very unusual. While not open all the time it is a great place to have lunch (bring your own) or picnic or sit in the shade. You will be surrounded by statuary of all kinds. Oh by the way, it is free. Check here for when open.

 

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The Elizabeth Street Gallery, open to the public in a park like setting, contains a variety of ornamental stonework, some of it depicting mythological figures

 

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Shops and Galleries

Some people think that the boundary between Chinatown and SoHo is mid-block between Kenmare and Spring,  Today, you can see a noticeable upscale look to galleries and shops north of Kenmare.

As I walked up Elizabeth Street I wondered why anyone would walk  north on this street. Mott Street its Parallel neighbor seems to get more pedestrian traffic. I am glad I did though, These  two blocks just South of Houston seems to be quite alive and quite trendy.

47.musket.room_
Carved, painted and lettered shingle signs that hang over the sidewalk are becoming popular in the neighborhoods where the hip people go,

 

 galleries, shops and restaurants on street level.

Trivia

 

IMG_1165

Elizabeth and Hester may be the only intersection in Manhattan where both streets are women’s first names, though Hester isn’t used much anymore.